Clutter can weigh you down and it can get under your skin (or under your bed, many of us know this to be true). Whether you’re looking to sell your home or just plain live in it, clutter can affect your overall health. In this post, we’re giving you five practical ways to attack your rummage head on.
Don’t Bring It In!
The reason this is our first tip for decluttering your home is because it’s the most logical starting point for placing you on the right path to serenity in your home (and maybe even your life). Think about it, like the dirt and germs on the soles of our shoes, we need to ask this question: What are we bringing into our homes? We need not wonder why we’re gaining weight, if we’re consuming ice cream and Doritos virtually every night. Likewise, when we mindlessly bring all sorts of things into our house, should we really be shocked by the mountains of paper and junk that find their way to the nooks and crannies of our abode?
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
Chances are your house didn’t go from Feng shui to Hoarding: Buried Alive overnight. In the majority of cases, our messes take gradual possession of us. Like a stray cat, we welcome it into our homes, into our way of living, and before we know it, the cat’s pulling the strings. Every room is its playground! Quite frankly, it’s habits like this that need to be broken and reset. Twenty-one days to do that, right? – according to Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (1960). Again, in an attempt to declutter, take the baby-step approach. Start small. Set a schedule in your planner or icloud calendar for each day over the period of several weeks to gradually organize/clean small areas of your home (see the Penicillin Method).
Gorilla In The Room
Perhaps the most troublesome areas of the house (with the exception of the attic) are those places we spend a majority of our time, such as the kitchen or family room. Yes, it can be intimidating, but the reward of clutter removal in these spaces can really boost one’s confidence. A successful strategy can be had by compartmentalizing troublesome areas of your home into smaller manageable chunks.
Just Pretend (Or Maybe You Don’t Need To)
Pretend you’re putting your home on the market and if you are, then get to work pronto. Thus far we haven’t addressed purging your home of extraneous stuff prior to listing it for sale, but this is critical. Homes with clutter, which lack a sense of openness, can restrict the imagination of the buyers who preview it. This can make a bad first impression or worse yet, it can negatively affect the fair market value of the home. Make sure to speak to your real estate professional about other things you can do to make sure you’re maximizing the perception of value potential purchasers have when considering your home for the first time. If you’re not selling or thinking about selling, pretend you are. Make a list of those things you’d accomplish over the course of a few weeks/months prior to getting your home market-ready. Plan it out and trick yourself into thinking you can tackle this monumental task which lies ahead of you – which you can by the way!
Make The Hard Decisions Now
Clutter is a symptom of “decision delay”, plain and simple. At the end of the day, we need to make those hard decisions and say thank you and goodbye to much of our stuff. Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant and author, suggests we ask ourselves this question (and I’m paraphrasing): Is the object in question beautiful, useful or joy-inducing? If it isn’t, then it’s probably time to ditch it.
One method that can help us with these hard decisions is the “four-box method”. The concept and deployment are simple. Take four boxes, preferably large (if you have the space hehe), and label them as follows:
Item-by-item, ask yourself which of these four boxes does the item ultimately belong? And in the words of Elsa…
At the end of the day’s organizational process, empty the contents of each box. Put the items from the donate/sell box in the garage or in your car to drop off; place the storage items in their proper areas, such as the basement, attic, storage, etc.; those items you are keeping should be placed in more appropriate/functional areas; and the trash items should go into your garbage can right away.
Those are the five ways to liberate your cluttered home. Sure there are other roadblocks to putting our untidiness to bed and getting our space back (and in some ways our health, depending on the severity of the situation). There are certainly extreme scenarios as well as circumstances where sentimentality can be at the heart of the issue. Sometimes assessing things on a case-by-case basis is best. Now and again, help from home-staging experts or clinical psychologists may be in order.
Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp
The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo